One thing that has been consistent during John Elway's tenure(besides winning and dominating the AFC West) is him selecting a defensive stud in the first round, or with his first selection in the NFL Draft.
Elway's first-round selections were a big reason why the Broncos defense was this good this past year and went on this dominating Super Bowl run.
Could that trend continue into 2016? According to Walter Football's Charlie Campbell, the Broncos plan to address the defensive line in the first round of April's NFL Draft.
Denver's plan is to address the defensive line in the first round. They love Alabama's Jarran Reed, but he also is very unlikely to make it to pick 31. Still, the 2016 draft is loaded at the defensive line, so there should be some good options available to the Broncos. Even though Denver's first-round pick could go to fortifying its tremendous defense, the changes at quarterback will get all the attention this offseason.
This really is not a huge surprise. As I said above, John Elway has selected a defensive player in the first round or with his first selection since becoming the Broncos General Manager. Also, the Broncos are likely losing defensive end Malik Jackson to free agency this offseason. This leaves a pretty big hole along the defensive line and takes away a pass rusher from the Broncos defense.
This 2016 NFL Draft is very deep at interior defensive line prospects, so the Broncos would be stupid not to spend a high pick on one of these talented defensive players.
Campbell's report mention's Alabama's Jarran Reed. He is a 6'3", 311lb athletic defensive lineman who could slide right in and replace Malik Jackson in the starting lineup. Reed would be a perfect fit in Wade Phillip's 3-4 defense. He is a run stuffer who is athletic enough to rush the pass, and he can line up anywhere along the defensive line. Like Campbell says. it's highly unlikely that he is available at the 31st pick, so the Broncos have to trade up for Reed or select someone else.
I plan to focus on the interior defensive line prospects in the coming weeks and months. Expect plenty of scouting reports and stories on these guys from myself and MHR's Christopher Hart.
Here are the defensive line prospects I expect the Broncos expect to have plenty of interest in this offseason. I'm willing to bet that one of these prospects will be holding up a Broncos jersey sometime in the first two rounds of April's NFL Draft.
- Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
- Jarran Reed, Alabama
- Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
- Kenny Clark, UCLA
- Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
- Sheldon Day
- Chris Jones
- Adolphus Washington
- Jonathan Bullard
- Emmanuel Ogbah
- Jihad Ward
Do you think the Broncos should select a defensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft? Or would you like to see them spend that pick elsewhere?